Improvement in Action: Advancing Quality in America’s Schools

Improvement in Action, Anthony S. Bryk’s sequel to Learning to Improve, illustrates how educators have effectively applied the six core principles of continuous improvement in practice. The book highlights relevant examples of rigorous, high-quality improvement work in districts, schools, and professional development networks across the country.

The organizations featured in the book have addressed, with remarkable results, long-standing inequitable educational outcomes in high school graduation rates, college readiness, and absenteeism. The cases emphasize the measures the educators took and the thinking that motivated their actions.

Bryk describes how improvers, working in different contexts and confronting different problems, used select principles, tools, and methods to make improvement come to life. Brief analytic reflections are embedded throughout the narratives, and each chapter concludes with an analysis of a set of larger lessons illuminated by the organization’s story. Taken as a set, these examples offer readers valuable insights about the actual dynamics of doing improvement work.

Improvement in Action, paired with Learning to Improve, provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the practice, method, and theory of large-scale continuous improvement in education.

“A must-read for educators who aim to put the principles for continuous improvement into action, transforming their organizations in the process. The six diverse case studies of successful improvement efforts provide vivid images of what it means to live the improvement principles. Taken together, the cases offer concrete, actionable insights into the core aspects of improvement work that can inform readers’ pursuit of ambitious improvement goals.”
— Paul Cobb, research professor, Vanderbilt University

“In Learning to Improve, Anthony Bryk boldly challenged educators to adopt and adapt modern, scientifically grounded principles of improvement. Now, in Improvement in Action, he offers six textured case studies that bring the theory to life in ways invaluable for anyone who wishes to accelerate toward profoundly better educational systems. In this, Bryk extends his legacy as one of the most important education change agents of his generation.”
— Donald M. Berwick, president emeritus and senior fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

More From Improvement in Action

Table of Contents Introduction